Sustainable Development

 

MOMBASA, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Cameroon’s Monique Ntumngia, founder of ‘Green Girls’ a social business, which educates young women from rural communities in the use of renewable energy, is the winner  of the 2019  WWF International President’s Youth award.

According to a statement from WWF,The award recognizes young people under the age of 30 helping promote the cause and impact of nature conservation. Nominations are invited annually via WWF offices around the world.
 
Since its founding in 2015, Green Girls has empowered and trained almost 800 women from 23 communities across Cameroon to generate solar energy and biogas from human waste. As well as her outstanding contribution to promoting sustainable development in the country, the award is a recognition of Monique’s efforts to champion the inclusion of women and girls in the renewable energy sector in Cameroon and Africa.
 
On receiving the award, Monique said: “It’s been my good fortune that Green Girls has allowed me to combine two of my great passions: sustainable development and female empowerment. Renewable energy is an essential part of any solution if we are to meet both Africa’s future energy needs and the environmental challenges that lie ahead. Today’s youth will be at the forefront of meeting these challenges and women will have a central role to play. Thanks to the tireless work of my team and the boundless enthusiasm of countless young women, we’ve managed to make some significant progress and it’s truly humbling to be recognised for our work.”
 
Through Green Girls’ work, more than 3,000 households have been provided with biogas, while more than 100 households have had solar installations fitted. In addition to being trained on how to produce biogas, young women are taught how to promote sustainable development and become financially independent. In 2017, Monique was also crowned the winner of the inaugural WWF Africa Youth Award.

“At a time when we are witnessing the devastating loss of nature and biodiversity and imminent breakdown of climate systems, risking the very foundation of human existence, Monique and these amazing women give us hope and show what is possible. Not only is Monique promoting renewable energy that benefits the environment, she is also empowering hundreds of young women across Cameroon. She is a shining light, setting an example and showing us all that development and protecting the environment can go hand in hand,” said Pavan Sukhdev, President, WWF International.

The 2019 WWF International President’s Youth Award was awarded to Monique in Mombasa, Kenya on June 13.
 It should be recalled that in 2017  Monique Ntumngia was crowned the winner of the inaugural WWF Africa Youth

 

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - With ten years of active interest in tree conservation and sustainable forest management, members of the African Forest Forum demonstrated  their experience in hands-on plants-man-ship at a tree planting spree to boost the Karura Forest in Nairobi.

The tree planting  exercise as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations according to the chair of AFF governing councils was testament to the green finger talents of the members.

“The tree planting segment is the most important aspect of the anniversary. It is a manifest of the mission and objective of the African Forest Forum, and also a demonstration of how the organisation connects with nature and humanity,” says Macarthy Oyobo, Chair of AFF Governing Council.

The Karura Forest where the 10th anniversary celebrations of AFF took place, sits proudly in the outskirts of the city of Nairobi, albeit tucked quietly away just off the hustling and bustling that characterize city life. It is a true forest of all seasons.

Professor Godwin Kowero, executive secretary on AFF that coordinated the celebrations and tree planting exercise , said they wanted to mark the anniversary in a significant way.

“AFF members are  lovers of nature and many of us learn lessons of life from nature. This explains why this planting exercise is very significant,” Kowero said.

He noted that trees were an important part of life, the solution pathway to the disturbing water crisis the world over.

“There are conflicts of water resources happening all over the world. Forest has a critical role in the solution to these growing water crisis,” Kowero said in his opening address at the anniversary celebrations.

AFF members from over 35 African countries attending the anniversary celebrations and also taking part at the tree planting exercise hailed the event, noting it was a footprint that will stand the test of time in the history of the now famous Karura forest.

“ The Karura Forest has made history in Kenya and by participating in this exercise we are being part of this history,” says Cameroon born Dr Martin Nganje, forest conservation consultant and member of AFF.

The tree planting exercise was organized according to countries with each group planting at least a tree.

Other highlights at the ceremony included speeches  from key partners like the ministry of environment and forest conservation,Kenya, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation,ECOWAS,Swedish Embassy Ethiopia, African Union Commission and management of Karura forest. This was followed by the launching of 8 teaching compendiums developed by AFF to help forest teachers, students, researchers and others better understand the complexities in forest issues.

Singing and cutting of the anniversary cake also galvanized the celebrations.

According to the management of Karura Forest, the reserve is an urban upland, one of the largest gazetted forest in the world fully within city limits. It covers an area of about 1,000 ha (2,500 ac) and today is a a shining example of how country-based corporate social responsibility and individual philanthropy can serve to secure and protect a country’s natural resources.

The forest offers eco-friendly opportunities for Kenyans and visitors to enjoy a leafy green respite from the hustle and bustle of the city to walk, to jog, or simply to sit quietly and experience the serenity of nature in all its diversity.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in partnership with the Friends of Karura Community Forest Association have since embarked on an aggressive programme to secure Nairobi’s key natural resource.

The hundreds of African Forest members visiting the venue were unanimous the forest epitomizes a touristic pearl and gives an intimate feel that makes visitors feel at home.

“It beauty of the Karura forest gives the intimacy and feeling of being at home,” attest Almani Dampha of the Afican Unuion Commission.

With all Karura’s vast and vibrant beauty only a few kilometers from the heart of the city, it remains for Kenyans and visitors to lend their support by visiting the forest!

 

ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his government has taken the policy decision to integrate climate action into the country’s national development agenda – the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017- 2022).

According to him, the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, which demands urgent action to combat climate change and its impact, are providing the framework for Ghana to forge ahead in this direction.

Speaking at the R20 Austrian World Summit on Climate Change, the President revealed all local assemblies in Ghana have been mandated to address climate change issues in their medium-term development plans.

Upon assuming office in January 2017, his Government decided to clamp down on the reprehensible activity of illegal mining that has been destroying the nations’ forests and water bodies.

A ban has also been imposed on the harvesting of rosewood timber as one of the measures to protect Ghana’s forests and endangered species.

Also through the “Youth in Afforestation” Programme, over 20,000 youth have been employed to plant 10 million trees across the country, as a way of increasing carbon sinks in the country.

Towards realizing Ghana’s international obligations under SDG 7, on access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, as well as SDG 13, President Akufo-Addo reiterated Ghana’s commitment of promoting the deployment of renewable energy, in line with government’s policy target of 10% renewables in the energy mix from the current 1%.

To this end, in the course of this year, Jubilee House, the seat of the nation’s presidency, will be powered by solar energy, as an example to other public institutions. The target is to install 200 megawatts of distributed solar power by 2030 in both residential and non-residential facilities, and in state agencies.

President Akufo-Addo revealed further that he has engaged a select group of CEOs from the private sector to push forward Ghana’s “Green Agenda”, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The response, the President stressed, has been very positive, with commitments to create a Green Fund, to be financed largely by the private sector, in place.

This Fund, he added, would be used to drive the nation’s Agenda of ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all in the country.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that “what we do in Ghana affects the people of Nepal, or Mozambique or Austria. That is why we need concerted Global action to tackle this menace. Success in addressing climate change will be one of the greatest legacies that our generation can give to the next.”


NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Equipping local communities in particular women with right resources to manage forests in Africa could help ease poverty and reduce deforestation – Environment experts have observed.

Drawing examples from Brazil and Nepal where thousands of community-led forest initiatives have significantly slowed down deforestation, the experts say such success cases could easily be replicated in Africa to drive efforts towards sustainable forest management.

A case study from Nepal presented at a workshop organised by the Africa Forest Forum in Nairobi shows that supporting communities  to take care of their own forests led to a 37 percent drop in deforestation and a 4.3 percent decline in poverty levels between 2000 and 2012.

“Forest experts say this should be the way forward for Africa,” said Dr Julius Chuezi Tieguhong, a forest research scientist. “Giving local communities in Africa the chance to look after their own forests will permit them intensify measures against illegal logging and other abuses because they know the forest is their future,” he said.

He observed that community forest management can help achieved a clear win-win for local people, protect the environment and fight against poverty.
Another expert, Cecile Ndjebet of the African Women's Network for Community Management of Forest, abbreviated in French (REFACOF) emphasized on the need to drive sustainable forest management by providing local women with alternative income generating activities that keeps them away from destroying their forests, which is a lifeline to their future.

She cited the case of Cameroon where a government supported agriculture programme for local farmers has enabled forest community women to engage in processing, packaging and marketing of non-timber Forest Products for income generation.

The programme called AGROPOLE accordingly, tackles food security, forest conservation and climate change, as well as the connection between agriculture, forestry and local economies.

She says the success of the programme has kept the women off their former trade of burning charcoal to raise income.

“When women and local communities are empowered to secure their rights to land and provided environment friendly income generating activities, they can conserve resources and prevent environmental degradation,” Cecile Ndjebet said.

Experts expressed concerns that the neglecting of local communities in forest management systems could only aggravate deforestation globally.
Deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change after fossil fuels, accounting for almost a fifth of planet-warming emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Cutting down forests can also harm livelihoods and cause tensions, as people compete for fewer resources, noted the UN report.

According to a 2018 analysis by the Rights and Resources Initiative, a global land rights coalition, indigenous peoples and local communities legally own only about 15 percent of forests land worldwide, a situation that relegates them to the background in sustainable forest management efforts.

Environment experts say African leaders and policy makers have to grasp the scale of the challenge to get local communities involved in forest management at all levels to better address poverty eradication and environmental protection in the continent.

According to AFF, a stronger response by governments, public organization and the private sector is needed to drive sustainable forest management to permit Africa fight against poverty and help preserve forest depletion that is surging across the globe.

The world lost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical tree cover in 2018 - the equivalent of 30 football pitches a minute, said an April report by Global Forest Watch, run by the U.S.-based World Resources Institute.

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